Col. Jeff Gabbert: New ACC chief of staff pulling it all together
July 29, 2011
Col. Jeff Gabbert sees his primary role is to synchronize and integrate the Army Contracting Command’s staff elements. In his role he must also be a collaborator assisting in problem solving, mediation and dealing with issues before they reach the executive director's level.
The ACC chief of staff, Gabbert is the facilitator with respect to command activities.
"At the headquarters level, our integrated and synchronized staff must be able to anticipate challenges and proactively support the needs of our subordinate organizations," said the 26-year veteran. "As the chief I will strive to inculcate the use of business intelligence tools like Virtual Contracting Enterprise and Green Force Tracker into the ACC culture. These are tools that can help us make better business decisions, anticipate problems, and communicate more effectively."
Prior to accepting the position with ACC, Gabbert was aware of the relatively new command and its personnel.
"I heard it was a great place to work with a lot of caring leaders. While serving as the Iraq/Afghanistan commander, Defense Contracting Management Agency, I had the privilege of working with ACC employees every day and witnessed their professionalism first hand."
According to Gabbert, leaders across the military such as General David H. Petraues (the former commander of both the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan) recognize the importance of contracting and the ACC.
"ACC impacts the fight every day, from both a forward-deployed and reachback perspective," Gabbert said. "It is also important to point out the amazement of every Soldier, airmen, and Marine how the command rapidly puts new lifesaving systems and modifications in place that enable them to adapt to the enemy and increase survivability."
In order to maintain that level of support from military leaders and Soldiers, Gabbert’s goal is to put people, policies, procedures, and business rules in place that ensure the command continues to effectively operate as a two-star headquarters.
"That means we must become an effects based organization which focuses the majority of our energy and resources externally on the success of our subordinate units," he said.
Some of Gabbert’s initial changes include the disestablishment of the Strategic Initiatives Office, moving the Virtual Contracting Enterprise into the Contract Operations Directorate, reorganization of the Commander's Action Group, streamlining several internal business rules to allow the staff more autonomy and time to spend working on subordinate command issues.
"My focus now is on the ACC G-3 (Operations) " the establishment of a future operations, current operations, and training sections. We are getting ready to roll-out several products like a valid Long Range Calendar, business rules for taskings, and new standard operating procedures for commander’s critical incident reports."
According to Gabbert, these moves will help smooth out the work flow and processes involved in the affected areas.
An avid golfer and marathon runner, Gabbert enjoys the challenges of golf because it does not come naturally to him, and long distance running simply because he can.
"I am constantly working on my golf game to improve my score. It seems as soon as I get my driver in check, my putting needs work, when my putting and driving are on. I chip one over the green. You gotta love it," he said with a chuckle. "My wife asks me all the time, why run marathons? I simply reply because I can! It also helps me stay healthy and tests my personal discipline."
Health and discipline are important aspects of Gabbert’s life, a life he intends to keep in balance.
"Throughout my career I have seen many Soldiers struggle with maintaining a good balance between work and family. At the conclusion of several retirement ceremonies, I have seen great leaders standing before their units with the sudden realization that their Army career has just come to an honorable end. As they looked to their left and to their right and then around the room for their family, they sometimes find they have left them behind. Their family has moved on with their lives. I love the Army, Soldiers, and those I work with, but I strive to make quality time for my family as well so that I don't have this regret. I challenge everyone, uniformed or civilian, working for this great nation of ours to remember, as we serve our country do not forget to nurture your families. Family is what this great country is made of and that includes yours."